Evolutionary psychology Intelligent Design Religion

At Mind Matters News: Compassion and religion: Darwin’s unscratchable itches

Spread the love

If one’s research is in a hole as deep as evolutionary psychology is when accounting for compassion, why not stop digging?:

Last Sunday, I pointed to a chapter I wrote in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021) on evolutionary psychology, best understood as the psychology we have derived from our not-quite-human ancestors.

“Not-quite-human ancestors”? Well, if you believe in conventional evolution theory at all, you must suppose that we have not-quite-human ancestors. Thus, to understand the origin of traits like giving to the Heart & Stroke Fund or subscribing to popular science magazines, we must get back to a point before any such institutions could have existed but there was some sort of dim potential. But we can’t really do that because, as noted last Sunday, there is no such thing as a fossil mind.

Early human minds, from what we can glean of them from ancient culture, don’t count. If we thawed out a Neanderthal from the permafrost from 50,000 years ago and managed to communicate with him, what might happen?

Here’s one possibility: He turns out to love football, beer, and french fries. He really, really wants a deer rifle. He is an awesome companion in a deer blind — very quiet and a good shot. Then, one day, sitting for hours overnight in a snowstorm back at the camp, he starts to tell us about his religion… and how he wishes his now forever-lost woman had understood him better…

Have we really got to the bottom of human psychology? Hardly. He could have been born in Ontario, Canada, in 1964 and stepped out of a deer blind somewhere near Peterborough.

And to the extent that we can interpret early human artifacts and symbols at all, they are human artifacts and symbols.

All extant humans have human psychologies. So how are we to gain hard evidence for a not-quite-human psychology that would help us understand the evolution of basic traits? That’s what naturalists would need to explain traits like compassion and religion in wholly evolutionary terms.

Denyse O’Leary, “Compassion and religion: Darwin’s unscratchable itches” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Stop digging? The hole evolutionary psychologists are digging IS the enterprise. Any motive that didn’t merely spread selfish genes would be invisible to them.

You may also wish to read: There is no such thing as a fossil mind. A chapter on evolutionary psychology in Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith (2021) looks at the curious discipline of evolutionary psychology. If our behavior is said to stem from our prehuman past, not from our present circumstances, evolutionary psychology is a discipline without a subject.

One Reply to “At Mind Matters News: Compassion and religion: Darwin’s unscratchable itches

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Although evolutionary psychologists may tell themselves endless ‘just-so stories’ about how the human mind, or about how any particular trait of the human mind and/or human behavior, may have randomly evolved, evolutionists in general, and evolutionary psychologists in particular, in their denial that we have free will in a real and meaningful sense, have, in reality, undermined any claim whatsoever that they are making, or that they are capable of making, rationally coherent arguments in the first place.

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012?
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    “Atheists, having strapped on the skis of physically caused thought, cannot stop anywhere on the mountain of rationality, but must descend into the valley of non-rationalism. But here they encounter a problem. If there is no criterion of rationality, how does one evaluate his thoughts?”
    – Charles Edward White – Cogito; Ergo Deus Est: Philosophy Still Lives Because God Isn’t Dead – 2017

    “Long before I believed Theology to be true I had already decided that the popular scientific picture at any rate was false. One absolutely central inconsistency ruins it…. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears.,,,
    ,, in other words, unless Reason is absolute—all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    – C.S. Lewis – “Is Theology Poetry,” in The Weight of Glory, 134–136
    https://byfaithweunderstand.com/2013/08/23/c-s-lewis-myth-scientism/

    In short, in their denial of free will, evolutionists in general, and evolutionary psychologists in particular, have undermined rationality altogether, and since all science, philosophy, and even psychology itself, are all grounded on our ability to make rational inferences, then evolutionists in general, and evolutionary psychologists in particular, have undermined any claim that they have anything meaningful to say about science, philosophy, and even psychology itself.

    Moreover, besides their denial of free will, Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, and thus with their implicit denial of the immaterial realm altogether, simply leave everything that is truly important about what it really means to be human on the cutting room floor.

    As Adam Sedgwick scolded Charles Darwin himself, “There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly.”

    From Adam Sedgwick – 24 November 1859
    Cambridge
    My dear Darwin,
    Excerpt: ,,, There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly. Tis the crown & glory of organic science that it does thro’ final cause , link material to moral; & yet does not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, & our classification of such laws whether we consider one side of nature or the other— You have ignored this link; &, if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it possible (which thank God it is not) to break it, humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it—& sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.,,,
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    Everything that is truly important, and that can be said to ‘radically’ differentiate us from all the other creatures on earth, and that truly makes us human and not animals, is immaterial in its foundational essence and character, and therefore it is simply impossible for Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, to ever give an adequate account for how humans came about.

    As Dr. Michael Egnor explains, “Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts.,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals
    – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,
    A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power. Our intellect and our will depend on matter for their ordinary function, in the sense that they depend upon perception and imagination and memory, but they are not themselves made of matter. It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. It is obvious and manifest in our biological nature. We are rational animals, and our rationality is all the difference. Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man.
    The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    And as the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Wallace himself, honestly admitted, “Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – via a 1910 interview previewing Wallace’s forthcoming book, The World of Life,

    Darwinian materialists, with their reductive materialistic framework, are simply not even on the correct theoretical foundation in order to explain what it truly means to be human in the first place.

    Moreover, it is not as if Christians don’t have any empirical evidence that man possesses an immaterial component, (i.e. an immaterial mind, and even a immaterial ‘soul’), to his being.

    In regards to free will, empirical evidence from neuroscience, and even from quantum mechanics itself, unambiguously reveals that humans do indeed have free will in a real and meaningful sense

    Michael Egnor: Is free will a dangerous myth? – October 6, 2018
    Excerpt: 4. ,,, an objective review of the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will. The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. The pioneer in the neuroscience of free will was Benjamin Libet, who demonstrated clearly that, while there is an unconscious material predisposition to acts as shown by electrical brain activity, we retain an immaterial “free won’t,” which is the ability to veto an unconscious urge to act. Many experiments have followed on Libet’s work, most of which use fMRI imaging of brain activity. They all confirm Libet’s observations by showing what is at most a loose correlation between brain activity and volition (for example, nearly half the time the brain activity that precedes the act is on the wrong side of the brain for the activity to determine the will)—the looseness of correlation being best explained as evidence for libertarian free will. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition.
    Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-is-free-will-a-dangerous-myth/

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract:,,, This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Moreover, advances in quantum biology have now revealed that ‘quantum information’ is ubiquitous within the human body, i.e. in every important biomolecule of the human body, and that man, therefore, has a immaterial component to his being, a ‘soul’, that is irreducible to any possible reductive materialistic explanation, and that is, in principle, capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg
    Conclusion of video: “The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff stated, “the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Thus in conclusion, there are three fatal flaws in the Darwinian attempt to explain humans.

    Evolutionary psychologists, in their denial of free will, (and the subsequent undermining of rationality itself), have undermined any claim that their worldview can possibly serve as the basis of science, philosophy, and even evolutionary psychology itself, in the first place

    Moreover, Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, and their implicit denial of the immaterial realm altogether, have also left everything that is truly important about what it really means to be human, and not animals, on the cutting room floor.

    On top of all that, the materialistic claims of Darwinists that we have no free will, nor immaterial soul, are directly contradicted by the empirical evidence itself.

    And as they say in baseball, “its three strikes and you’re out!”

    Verses:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

Leave a Reply